While TFS is a great tool for coding more and more teams are beginning to miss features allowing them to manage projects they are working on. Some crave little enhancements, like ability to track time or manage work item tags, while others want to enhance the tool for agile teamwork and use beyond the development circle. There are quite a few choices for the TFS expansions out there, therefore we decided to narrow it down to 5 of our top picks.
5. The time tracker
Time tracking has never been a focus or a feature in TFS. However, with a growing use of time tracking for various uses, such as accounting, work allocation and others, it has become more and more important for some teams. The simple TFS add-on by the name of TFS TimeTracker is created just for that. The tool integrates with your TFS interface, creating an additional tab for time analysis. This allows the developers to track time easily, control tracking inputs, analyze and export data.
The benefits of data visualization are well known and understood in this busy, no time to stop and read world. Therefore it comes as no surprise that we are constantly looking for measures to improve our process and create ever more effective ways of making project information understandable at a first glance. Agile project management practices have been a go to tool for most teams in this effort, however, we believe, they can be pushed yet another step further with a simple addition of color.
Agile project methods are a great way to improve your project visualization – they provide the basic rules of the board setup, task organization and separation as well as a general sense of what is going on. However, as projects, teams and Agile practices themselves grow ever larger, the constraints provided in the methods become too simple to sufficiently visualize the process. As a result, most teams start looking for another layer of data representation such as color.
Color coding is a well-known practice used in the daily lives by most of us. And while it may seem silly at first, it actually provides a great additional layer of visualization for the Agile task board. Below are our top 5 ways to use color in the board enhancement.
Identifying the item size
After looking into how Lithuanian startups use Agile practices, we were intrigued and decided to dig a little deeper. So we went out again and asked startups what project management practices they know, use and why. The results are presented below in our brand new infographic.
Enjoy and share your experiences with us!
It often said, that the best things come out of the most unexpected solutions and unexpected is the word that comes up often after hearing about the PRINCE2 Agile method. For most of us it is hard to believe that the two fundamentally different approaches have been merged into one successfully and that this solution has already been applied in some teams. While it is yet to be determined how successful this new method will be in the long term, there is undoubtedly some good reasoning behind it. Let us go ahead and see what it is.
Up until this point, most of the PM community thought that the two methods – PRINCE2 and Agile are fundamentally different. Some even went as far as fighting the other side over the superiority of their choice. However, the new approach led by Keith Richards, brings us to thinking about where the differences actually lie. We know PRINCE2 as a more traditional method, focused on control and governance and we know Agile as a new age method, focused on flexibility and adaption to environment. However, we often tend to get off the right track and bring up our own misconceptions about the two based simply on our opinions.
When seeking to get more insight into our customers, we often take a deeper look into how they are using Eylean Board. Some of the most interesting statistics usually come from the TFS users and this time is no exception. Before you are the insights of how our TFS customers are using Eylean, specifically, which templates they are choosing and why.
To get an overall idea of what is happening with Eylean TFS templates, first we took a look into the overall data of the customers. In the table below, the results reveal that between the templates there is no big standouts – all of them are running in similar numbers. A bit higher overall usage is found in two categories – Scrum and Agile. For Scrum, this complies with the overall trend of Scrum user numbers being higher than the rest of Agile methodologies. While the biggest choice of Agile template stands behind teams that are implementing one or several practices at a time and want an agile template that has the basics, but is not too specific in any methodology.
Within the large market of project management software, Jira is no doubt one of the bigger players – it offers a variety of features and supports large enterprises all over the world. At first look, most would not think a small startup from Lithuania could offer any competition to the giant. However, we believe, a few key aspects make Eylean Board a true competitor in this race.
In their essence the two tools are quite different – one is created for large enterprises, while the other focuses on the life of a team. However, at the end of the day, both are designed to do exactly the same – aid the company in the overall project management process. Looking at the tools this way reveals a couple of pivotal points that just might make you reconsider the superiority scale.
Image Credit: © Depositphotos.com/bst2012
Trust is not only a great, but an essential asset to have within any team. It allows for ideas to flow freely, eliminates looking over each other’s shoulder and mergers different people into a unit. A team that trusts each other, brings forward better and faster results, makes the clients happier and in turn creates a prosperous environment for years to come. There is no doubt, trust is great, the question though is – how do we create it?
Building trust within a new team is often tedious and burdensome task that not all leaders are ready to cope with. There are essentially three points to ensure trust – we need to know that we are understood, that the deadlines will be followed and that promises are going to be kept. Besides all the small little details, following these three points will most likely guarantee that the team will be working within a trusting environment.
While it is easy to name these principles, following and putting them into practice is a whole another ball game that many struggle with. However, what if there actually was no need to cope with this task? What if appointing a specific project management method could do all of that for us? Well, then we would all be happy and we would all be using scrum to manage our projects.
Both Agile and Startups are terms that have gained massive buzz in the business world over the last years. However, the idea of them mixing with each other has come up only recently. Startups that have been traditionally visualized as messy and uncoordinated have taken up a method that requires teamwork, planning efforts and timed delivery. Some are still struggling with this idea so we thought why not go ahead and ask startups themselves about their experiences?
Eight of Lithuanian startups have answered our call and shared their ups and downs using Agile methods. Here are their experiences and thoughts.
The team behind a field service management and time tracking software Mobile Worker has started using scrum in 2013. They have found the rules to be tough to follow and have decided not practice the routine of a daily standup due to team members being in different locations. However, they instead decided to focus on the benefits that scrum has brought them – they are now able to plan better, evaluate the final product immediately and quickly adjust the course of action depending on the necessary updates and improvements.
A 3D model marketplace founders at CGTrader have started using scrum in the summer of last year. They have done so looking to have clearer planning and allocation of tasks as well as overall control of productivity. While they have achieved their goals and find it that tasks get completed more quickly, they still struggle evaluating tasks accurately. The team members often overshoot estimating their ability and this results in project being behind the delivery date.
Kanban task cards seem like a pretty straightforward thing – take a sticky note, write what you need to do and put it on the wall. However, as teams get bigger and boards are used by multiple teams at once, this is not good enough anymore. We need visualization, clarity and possibility to differentiate the tasks amongst one another. To accomplish this teams innovate and embellish their task cards. Here are our favorite ways to do that.
The simple way
This first Kanban card comes from Daniel Pope at MauveWeb. It is slight but very crucial update to the traditional sticky note approach adding the tracking reference, deadline and the estimate of how long the task will take in specific places of the card. In this way the task card is still kept really simple and does not need any special template, but allows for the team to find the information quickly and have more details on the board.
Since the very beginning of scrum practices, one of the most important tool to the teams have been the various task cards. They hold all of the important information and help keep the team on tracks at all times. It comes as no surprise, that there is great variety of such cards out there, so this time we are presenting our top 4 of physical scrum task cards.
There is no denying that the task cards as we know it have started with sticky notes and in fact, many teams are still using them today. The one we liked the most, comes from Adam Rudd and is an improved version of the original with dedicated sections and places for specific information. It brings more clarity and order into the note taking, but lets you keep the format of a sticky note.